Asia Pacific Journal of Management

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 133–154 | Cite as

Methodological Issues in Cross-Cultural Management Research: Problems, Solutions, and Proposals

  • Lrong Lim
  • Peter Firkola


The research field of cross-cultural management suffers from an absence of theory capable of explaining the role of culture in organizational behavior. Methodological issues that are at least partly responsible for the above shortcoming are explored in this paper. The central argument is that, despite efforts to resolve these issues, many methodological problems continue to resist the remedies prescribed by researchers. This paper seeks to evaluate the reasons for this, and based on these evaluations, proposes some suggestions for future research.


Research Field Methodological Issue Methodological Problem Management Research Organizational Behavior 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adler, N.J. 1983. Cross-cultural management research: the ostrich and the trend. Academy of Management Review, 8(2): 226–232.Google Scholar
  2. Adler, N.J. 1984. Understanding the ways of understanding: cross-cultural management methodology reviewed. In R.N. Farmer (ed) Advances in International Comparative Management: A Research Manual, 1: 31–68. Greenwich, Connecticut: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  3. Adler, N.J. 1997. International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior, Third edition. Cincinnati: South-Western College Publishing.Google Scholar
  4. Adler, N.J., Doktor, R. and Redding, S.G. 1997. From the Atlantic to the Pacific century: cross-cultural management reviewed. In H.J. Davis and W.D. Schulte Jr. (eds) National Culture and International Management in East Asia. pp. 61–87. London: International Thomson Business Press.Google Scholar
  5. Ajiferuke, M. and Boddewyn, J. 1970. Culture and other explanatory variables in comparative management studies. Academy of Management Journal, 13(2): 153–163.Google Scholar
  6. Armstrong, R.W. 1996. The relationship between culture and perception of ethical problems in international marketing. Journal of Business Ethics, 15(11): 1199–1208.Google Scholar
  7. Barrett, G.V. and Bass, B.M. 1970. Comparative surveys of managerial attitudes and behavior. In J. Boddewyn (ed) Comparative Management: Teaching, Research, and Training. pp. 179–217. New York: New York University Graduate School of Business Administration.Google Scholar
  8. Barry, H. 1969. Cross-cultural research with matched pairs of societies. Journal of Social Psychology, 79: 25–33.Google Scholar
  9. Bartlett, C.A. and Ghoshal, S. 1995. Transnational Management: Text, Cases, and Readings in Cross-Border Management. Second edition. Chicago: Irwin.Google Scholar
  10. Berry, J.W. 1979. Research in multicultural societies: implications of cross-cultural methods. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 10(4): 415–434.Google Scholar
  11. Bhagat, R.S. and McQuaid, S.J. 1982. Role of subjective culture in organizations: a review and directions for future research. Journal of Applied Psychology, 67(5): 653–685.Google Scholar
  12. Bigoness, W.J. and Blakely, G.L. 1997. A cross-national study of managerial values. Journal of International Business Studies, 27(4): 739–752.Google Scholar
  13. Black, J.S. and Mendenhall, M. 1990. Cross-cultural training effectiveness: a review and a theoretical framework for future research. Academy of Management Review, 15(1): 113–136.Google Scholar
  14. Brislin, R.W. 1970. Back-translation for cross-cultural research. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 1(3): 185–216.Google Scholar
  15. Budde, A., Child, J., Francis, A. and Kieser, A. 1982. Corporate goals, managerial objectives, and organizational structures in British and West German companies. Organization Studies, 3(1): 1–32.Google Scholar
  16. Cavusgil, S.T. and Das, A. 1997. Methodological issues in empirical cross-cultural research: a survey of the management literature and a framework. Management International Review, 37: 71–96.Google Scholar
  17. Chapman, M. 1992. Defining culture: a social anthropological perspective. Paper presented to the 1992 Annual Conference of the Academy of International Business (UK), Brighton Polytechnic Business School, 26–27 March.Google Scholar
  18. Chen, M. 1997. Major comparative management models. In M. Warner (ed) Comparative Management: Critical Perspectives on Business and Management, Vol. 1, pp. 128–140. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Chew, I.K.H. and Putti, J. 1995. Relationship on work-related values of Singaporean and Japanese managers in Singapore. Human Relations, 48(10): 1149–1170.Google Scholar
  20. Child, J. 1981. Culture, contingency, and capitalism in the cross-national study of organizations. In L.L. Cummings and B.M. Staw (eds) Research in Organizational Behavior, vol. 3, pp. 303–356. Greenwich, Connecticut: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  21. Chinese Culture Connection. 1987. Chinese values and the search for culture-free dimensions of culture. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 18(2): 143–164.Google Scholar
  22. Davies, S.M. 1971. Comparative Management: Organizational and Cultural Perspectives. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  23. Doktor, R., Tung, R.L. and Von Glinow, M.A. 1991a. Incorporating international dimensions in management theory building. Academy of Management Review, 16(2): 259–261.Google Scholar
  24. Doktor, R., Tung, R.L. and Von Glinow, M.A. 1991b. Future directions for management theory development. Academy of Management Review, 16(2): 362–365.Google Scholar
  25. Easterby-Smith, M. and Malina, D. 1999. Cross-cultural collaborative research: toward reflexivity. Academy of Management Journal, 42(1): 76–86.Google Scholar
  26. Erramilli, M.K. 1996. Nationality and subsidiary ownership patterns in multinational corporations. Journal of International Business Studies, 27(2): 225–249.Google Scholar
  27. Farmer, R.N. and Richman, B.M. 1965. Comparative Management and Economic Progress, Homewood, Illinois: Richard D. Irwin.Google Scholar
  28. Franke, R.H., Hofstede, G. and Bond, M.H. 1991. Cultural roots of economic performance: a research note. Strategic Management Journal, 12: 165–173.Google Scholar
  29. Green, P.E. and Rao, V.R. 1970. Rating scales and information recovery: how many scales and response categories to use? Journal of Marketing, 34(3): 33–39.Google Scholar
  30. Harbison, F. and Myers, C.A. 1959. Management in the Industrial World. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  31. Hickson, D.J. and Pugh, D.S. 1995. Management Worldwide: The Impact of Societal Culture on Organizations Around the Globe. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  32. Hofstede, G. 1984. Culture's Consequences: International Differences in Work Related Values. Abridged edition. Newbury Park, California: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  33. Hofstede, G. 1997. Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  34. Hofstede, G. and Bond, M.H. 1988. The Confucius connection: from cultural roots to economic growth. Organizational Dynamics, 16(4): 5–21.Google Scholar
  35. Hui, C.H. and Triandis, H.C. 1985. Measurement in cross-cultural psychology: A review and comparison of strategies. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 16(2): 131–152.Google Scholar
  36. Hunt, J.W. 1981. Applying American behavioral science: some cross-cultural problems. Organizational Dynamics, 10(1): 55–62.Google Scholar
  37. Jick, T.D. 1979. Mixing qualitative and quantitative methods: Triangulation in action. Administrative Science Quarterly, 24(4): 602–611.Google Scholar
  38. Joynt, P. and Warner, M. 1996. Managing Across Cultures: Issues and Perspectives. London: International Thomson Business Press.Google Scholar
  39. Kedia, B.L. and Bhagat, R.S. 1988. Cultural constraints on transfer of technology across nations: implications for research in international and comparative management. Academy of Management Review, 13(4): 559–571.Google Scholar
  40. Kedia, B.L., Keller, R.T. and Julian, S.D. 1992. Dimensions of national culture and the productivity of R&D units. The Journal of High Technology Management Research, 3(1): 1–18.Google Scholar
  41. Kraut, A.I. 1975. Some recent advances in cross-national management research. Academy of Management Journal, 18(3): 538–549.Google Scholar
  42. Kroeber, A.L. and Kluckhorn, C. 1963. Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions, New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  43. Kyi, K.M. 1988. APJM and comparative management in Asia. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 5(3): 207–224.Google Scholar
  44. LaJaunie, L. Jr. and Sambharya, R. 1990. Mediatory myth: an approach to managing organizational culture in MNCs. In S.B. Prasad (ed) Advances in International Comparative Management, 5: 211–225. Greenwich, Connecticut: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  45. Lammers, C.J. and Hickson, D.J. 1979. Are organizations culture-bound? In C.J. Lammers and D.J. Hickson (eds) Organizations Alike and Unlike. pp. 402–419. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  46. Laurent, A. 1986. The cross-cultural puzzle of international human resource management. Human Resource Management, 25(1): 91–102.Google Scholar
  47. Malhotra, N.K., Agarwal, J. and Peterson, M. 1996. Methodological issues in cross-cultural marketing research: a state-of-the-art review. International Marketing Review, 13(5): 7–43.Google Scholar
  48. Menezes, D. and Elbert, N.F. 1979. Alternative semantic scaling formats for measuring store image: an evaluation. Journal of Marketing Research, 16(1): 80–87.Google Scholar
  49. Mitchell, R.E. 1969. Survey materials collected in the developing countries: Sampling, measurement, and interviewing obstacles to intra-and inter-national comparisons. In J. Boddewyn (ed) Comparative Management and Marketing: Text and Readings. pp. 232–252. Glenvile, Illinois: Scott, Foresman & Co.Google Scholar
  50. Morey, N.C. and Luthans, F. 1984. An cmic perspective and ethnoscience methods for organizational research. Academy of Management Review, 9(1): 27–36.Google Scholar
  51. Morgan, G. 1980. Paradigms, metaphors, and puzzle solving in organization theory. Administrative Science Quarterly, 25(4): 605–622.Google Scholar
  52. Morgan, G. 1983. Research strategies: modes of engagement. In G. Morgan (ed) Beyond Method. pp. 19–42. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  53. Morgan, G. and Smircich, L. 1980. The case for qualitative research. Academy of Management Review, 5(4): 491–500.Google Scholar
  54. Nasif, E.G., Al-Daeaj, H., Ebrahimi, B. and Thibodeaux, M.S. 1991. Methodological problems in cross-cultural research: an updated review. Management International Review, 31: 79–91.Google Scholar
  55. Nath, R. 1969. A methodological review of cross-cultural management research. In J. Boddewyn (ed) Comparative Management and Marketing: Text and Readings. pp. 195–223. Glenvile, Illinois: Scott, Foresman & Co.Google Scholar
  56. Nath, R. 1970. Proposition building and other methodological issues in comparative management. In J. Boddewyn (ed) Comparative Management: Teaching, Research, and Training. pp. 137–159. New York: New York University Graduate School of Business Administration.Google Scholar
  57. Nath, R. 1988. Comparative Management: A Regional View, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Ballinger Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  58. Negandhi, A.R. 1974. Cross-cultural management studies: too many conclusions, not enough conceptualization. Management International Review, 14(6): 59–67.Google Scholar
  59. Negandhi, A.R. 1983. Cross-cultural management research: Trend and future directions. Journal of International Business Studies, 14(2): 17–28.Google Scholar
  60. Negandhi, A.R. and Prasad, S.B. 1971. Comparative Management. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
  61. Ng, S.H. et al. 1982. Human values in nine countries. In R. Rath et al. (eds) Diversity and Unity in Cross-Cultural Psychology. pp. 19–205. Lisse NL.: Swets and Zeitlinger.Google Scholar
  62. Patton, M.Q. 1990. Qualitative Evaluation and Research Methods. Second edition. Newbury Park, California: Sage.Google Scholar
  63. Pavett, C. and Morris, T. 1995. Management styles within a multinational corporation: a five country comparative study. Human Relations, 48(10): 1171–1191.Google Scholar
  64. Peng, T.K., Peterson, M.F. and Shyi, Y.P. 1991. Quantitative methods in cross-national management research: trends and equivalence issues. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 12: 87–107.Google Scholar
  65. Prasad, S.B. 1990. Advances in International Comparative Management: A Research Annual, vol. 5. Greenwich, Connecticut: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  66. Ralston, D.A., Holt, D.H., Terpstra, R.H. and Yu, K. 1997. The impact of national culture and economic ideology on managerial work values: a study of the United States, Russia, Japan, and China. Journal of International Business Studies, 28(1): 177–207.Google Scholar
  67. Redding, G. 1997. Comparative management theory: jungle, zoo or fossil bed? In M. Warner (ed) Comparative Management: Critical Perspectives on Business and Management, 4: 1445–1479. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  68. Ricks, D.A. 1985. International business research: past, present, and future. Journal of International Business Studies, 16(2): 1–4.Google Scholar
  69. Roberts, K.H. 1997. On looking at an elephant: An evaluation of cross-cultural research related to organizations. In M. Warner (ed) Comparative Management: Critical Perspectives on Business and Management, 1: 327–350. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  70. Roberts, K.H. and Boyacigiller, N.A. 1984. Cross national organizational research: the grasp of the blind men. Research in Organizational Behavior, 6: 423–475.Google Scholar
  71. Robinson, R.V. 1983. Book review: Geert Hofstede, Culture's Consequences. Work and Occupations, 10: 110–115.Google Scholar
  72. Ross, M.H. and Homer, E. 1976. Galton's problem in cross national research. World Politics, 29(1): 1–28.Google Scholar
  73. Roth, M.S. 1995. The effects of culture and socioeconomics on the performance of global brand image strategies. Journal of Marketing Research, 32: 163–175.Google Scholar
  74. Schein, E.H. 1997. Organizational Culture and Leadership. Second edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.Google Scholar
  75. Schneider, S. 1988. National and corporate culture: Implications for human resource management. Human Resource Management, 27(2): 231–246.Google Scholar
  76. Schollhammer, H. 1969. The comparative management theory jungle. Academy of Management Journal, 12(1): 81–97.Google Scholar
  77. Sechrest, L., Fay, T.L. and Zaidi, S.M.H. 1972. Problems of translation in cross-cultural research. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 3(1): 41–56.Google Scholar
  78. Sekaran, U. 1981. Are U.S. organizational concepts and measures transferable to another culture? An empirical investigation. Academy of Management Journal, 24(2): 409–417.Google Scholar
  79. Sekaran, U. 1983. Methodological and theoretical issues and advancements in cross-cultural research. Journal of International Business Studies, 14(2): 61–73.Google Scholar
  80. Shane, S. 1995. Uncertainty avoidance and the preference for innovation championing roles. Journal of International Business Studies, 26(1): 47–68.Google Scholar
  81. Smircich, L. 1983. Concepts of culture and organizational analysis. Administrative Science Quarterly, 28(3): 339–358.Google Scholar
  82. Sondergaard, M. 1994. Hofstede's consequences: a study of reviews, citations, and replications. Organization Studies, 15(3): 447–456.Google Scholar
  83. Sorge, A. 1983. Review on Culture's Consequences. Administrative Science Quarterly, 28(4): 625–629.Google Scholar
  84. Tayeb, M. 1994. Organizations and national culture: methodology considered. Organization Studies, 15(3): 429–446.Google Scholar
  85. Teagarden, M.B. et al. 1995. Toward a theory of comparative management research: an idiographic case study of the best international human resources management project. Academy of Management Journal, 38(5): 1261–1287.Google Scholar
  86. Triandis, H.C. 1982. Review of culture's consequences: International differences in work-related values. Human Organization, 41(1): 86–90.Google Scholar
  87. Triandis, H.C. et al. 1986. The measurement of the ctic aspects of individualism and collectivism across cultures. Australian Journal of Psychology, 38(3): 257–267.Google Scholar
  88. Voss, K.E., Stem, D.E., Johnson, L.W. and Arce, C. 1996. An exploration of the comparability of semantic adjectives in three languages: a magnitude estimation approach. International Marketing Review, 13(5): 44–58.Google Scholar
  89. Warner, M. 1997. Comparative Management: Critical Perspectives on Business and Management, Volumes 1–4. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  90. Weber, Y. 1996. Corporate culture fit and performance in mergers and acquisitions. Human Relations, 49(9): 1181–1202.Google Scholar
  91. Yeung, A.K. and Ready, D.A. 1995. Developing leadership capabilities of global corporations: a comparative study of eight nations. Human Resource Management, 34(4): 529–547.Google Scholar
  92. Yu, J.H., Keown, C.F. and Jacobs, L.W. 1993. Attitude scale methodology: cross-cultural implications. Journal of International Consumer Marketing, 6(2): 45–64.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lrong Lim
    • 1
  • Peter Firkola
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Business AdministrationKagawa UniversityKagawaJapan
  2. 2.International Student CenterHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan

Personalised recommendations